US Senate Approves Coordinated Research Plan for Lung Cancer
Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act Creates New NCI Scientific Framework Focused on Lethal Cancers – Lung and Pancreatic to Launch Initiative
Washington, D.C. [November 29, 2012]—Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) announced that its long sought goal of establishing a research priority within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on lung cancer was another step closer to becoming law with the United States Senate’s approval of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012.
The legislation is a modified version of the bill formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act which passed the House of Representatives September 18, 2012 with strong bi-partisan support. The Senate passed the legislation as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The Senate must pass the entire bill and the House of Representatives must concur before it can proceed to the President for approval.
The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 requires NCI to develop comprehensive plans of research action, or scientific frameworks, to address the most lethal cancers – those with a five year survival rate of less than 50 percent. Immediate attention is to be given to lung and pancreatic cancers.
LCA worked closely with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to secure priority status for lung and pancreatic cancers in the legislation which together cause one in every three cancer deaths and whose 5-year survival rates of 15% and 6% respectively have barely moved since the 1972 launch of the “War on Cancer”.
Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO, credited the achievement to the unrelenting work of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its advocates along with the extraordinary efforts of lung cancer advocates all across the country who worked tirelessly to shine a brighter light on these deadly cancers.
In addition, Fenton Ambrose commended Senate leaders specifically Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for his work on behalf of the pancreatic cancer community and Senators Dianne Feinstein, Johnny Isakson and John Kerry for their sponsorship of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act whose central tenant, bringing a coordinated and comprehensive research approach to all aspects of the disease, was incorporated in the amended bill.
“Advocates, committed congressional leaders and legislative momentum were the driving factors that gave LCA the leverage needed to secure priority status for lung cancer in the compromise bill that was negotiated in the House and Senate Health Committees over the past weeks,” she said. “Thank you advocates and thank you Senate leaders for helping us realize this long sought goal.”
The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 requires NCI, within 18 months, to carry out a complete inventory of all research done to date, overlooked areas, the availability of researchers and the impact on public health. Then, they are to develop a scientific framework for a comprehensive plan of research action to address all aspects of the cancer, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Within 30 days of its development, the scientific framework must be sent to Congress and made publicly available.
“We are hopeful that this new research standing at NCI will bring long needed focus on these lethal cancers, continue to engage advocates in the process, and lead to greater and faster breakthroughs and improvements in survival,” continued Fenton Ambrose. “From prevention, to screening for those without known risk factors as well as those at high risk, to better treatments and even cures—this is what our movement is all about.”
In 2007, LCA secured passage of bipartisan resolutions in both Houses of Congress calling for lung cancer to be a national public health priority.
The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, legislation calling for a unique multi-agency comprehensive plan of action to reduce mortality by 50% by 2020, was subsequently introduced in both Houses, again with bi-partisan support, and at latest count co-sponsored in the House and Senate by 117 Members.
In addition, LCA joined forces over four years ago with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and other lethal cancer advocacy organizations to petition NCI to develop a new targeted research initiative focused on lethal cancers with low survival rates and little progress.
The Recalcitrant Research Cancer Act of 2012 is an amalgam of these strategic efforts.